Zaid Jabri was born in Damascus. His mother is a renowned modernist artist and his father a retired director of television and theatre. His background and early interest in music alerted him to the dense and long histories of shared and reworked harmonic and instrumental strategies across such divides as East and West. The intersection of Western and Middle Eastern musical traditions converge in his compositions.
Drawn to music from an early age, he studied violin with Riyad Sukar in Damascus. At the age of 19, he was accepted at the Academy of Music in Kraków where he completed his M. A. degree with honors and then pursued his doctorate under the directorship of Zbigniew Bujarski and Krzysztof Penderecki. He obtained his doctorate in 2014.
While still studying for his doctorate, Zaid Jabri began receiving international recognition when he won the prestigious Adam Didur Composers' Competition in Sanok in 1997 for his “Two Songs for Soprano and String Orchestra.” The following year he was appointed Artist/Composer in residence at the Istanbul Bilgi University Music Department during Polish Composer’s Week. He was an instructor at the Krakow Academy of music and currently a resident composer at The Norwegian University of Sciense and Technology.
Jabri is also committed to facilitating the future careers of young musicians and composers, serving on juries for AFAC, the Adam Didur Composers’ Competition, ‘2 Agosto,’ Bilgi University and the Gdańsk Academy of Music.
He has lectured at Barnard College and Columbia University in New York, Harvard University, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Bilgi University in Istanbul, the Gdańsk Academy of Music, the Onassis Centre in Athens, and Alwan for Arts in New York, and The University of Victoria in Canada.
Zaid Jabri’s work has been performed in Belgium, Canada, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Syria, Tunisia, the Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the USA. His work as featured at numerous festivals that include: the MATA Festival in New York, the SALT New Music Festival in Victoria, Canada, the Mediterranean Voices Project, the Oriental Landscape Festival in Damascus, the Musiikin Aika Festival in Helsinki, ECLAT in Stuttgart, the Modern Music Festival in Kiev, Ravenna Festival, the Festival of Polish Premiers of Contemporary Music in Katowice, and the Warsaw Autumn Festival. His works have been commissioned and performed internationally by such ensembles as Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica, the English Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Zera n, the Orchestra of the Teatro Communale, Bologne, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Neue Vocalsolisten, Stuttgart, the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra.
His recent compositions demonstrate the range of his skills. These include: A Garden Among the Flames, for soprano, baritone, children's choir, mixed choir and orchestra, Altum, for cello and accordion, Variation on (R)evolution, for mezzo-soprano, violin and piano and Glyptos 2, for tape, flute, clarinet, trumpet, piano, violin and bass
One of his most ambitious current undertakings is the score for the opera Cities of Salt, based on the novel by Abdulrahman Munif, with a libretto by Yvette Christianse and Rosalind Morris. Four scenes and an intermezzo were showcased at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theater as part of the Shubbak Festival in July 2015.
Ziad Jabri is the recipient of prestigious fellowships and residencies. In 2011 he held a Tactus Composer’s residency and, in the same year was admitted to the Polish National Composer’s union (KZP). He also received the George Evans memorial fellowship at the Virginia Centre for the Creative Arts in the United States (2014), the Tactus Young Composers Forum residency in Belgium (2012), and a residential fellowship with the Rockefeller Foundation/Bellagio Centre (2015). In 2016-2017 he was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institution at Harvard University. He is currently a resident composer at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway
In addition to the 1997 Adam Didur Composers’ Competition in Sanok, Poland, for his Two Songs for soprano and string orchestra, and second prize at the 2012 ‘2 Agosto’ Competition in Bologna with Les Temps des pierres for baritone and symphony orchestra.